Is a Missouri DWI Part of the Public Records?

You’ve been arrested for DWI. A police officer has read your “Miranda Rights” to you, and you’ve been taken to jail and charged. Is anyone going to find out? Will this go on my public records?

The term “public records” refers to any information collected by a governmental agency, including law enforcement, that isn’t restricted as “confidential.” Although the most common public records are birth and death, marriage/divorce, bankruptcy and lien information, there are more records that are easily obtainable.

For a fee, you can use online search services like PeopleFinders and Spokeo to find out about someone, including court records, which the site can gather quickly. But you—or anyone—can find this information yourself, and in some cases, you can find it for free.

Missouri Public Records

If you’ve been charged a DWI (or anything else) in Missouri, it will likely be available to anyone who wants it through a public records search.

The State of Missouri’s state records division complies the state’s Sunshine Law, guaranteeing public access to governmental records, including:

  • Arrest records
  • Court actions
  • Police reports
  • Criminal records
  • Jail and inmate records

Nearly anyone may be able to find your DWI if they decide to look for it with a simple search.


Missouri courts also have another system for you—or anyone else—to learn more about a court case. Casenet is an online database that is limited to courts in the state of Missouri who have implemented it. Casenet allows anyone to search and find court information in Missouri, including docket entries, judgements, and parties that are in public court records.

Tickets can also be paid online with a function called “Plead And Pay,” as long as the ticket doesn’t require going to court.

Although anyone may be able to access and obtain court records, it doesn’t mean that they will be automatically notified. This means that your employer won’t necessarily find out about a DWI, at least initially. But if your occupation involves driving, such as deliveries, or over-the-road trucking, they may find out when your license is suspended. You may also have to explain to your employer, family, or others about your arrest, even if it doesn’t affect your job.

How a DWI Can Impact You

If you are asked—for any reason—if you’ve ever been arrested, you will be required to answer “yes.”  Background checks for housing, employment, education and other reason are fast and easy to obtain. If you don’t respond honestly, the individual doing the checking will discover your arrest record fairly quickly.

Having a DWI may limit opportunities in employment, housing, and education. Student loans, mortgages, credit cards and other forms of financing may become difficult, if not impossible to obtain, limiting your ability to get housing, education, and other necessities.

Additionally, as a “high risk driver,” you’ll see an immediate increase in insurance. Your carrier may also drop your coverage, requiring you to obtain new, more expensive insurance, called Missouri SR22 Insurance.

Your Fighting Chance with a DWI

A Missouri DWI isn’t just a simple ticket—it’s a serious matter that impacts your life. If you find yourself with a DWI arrest, call Grant Shostak today at (314) 380-3059, or email him at He can guide you through the process and work to defend you in court.

Want more information? Download our free e-book, Missouri DWI Survival Guide. You can read about Missouri’s DWI, including hiring an attorney, field sobriety tests, DWI defenses, expungement, and other related topics.

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